thau·​ma·​trope | \ ˈthȯmə‧ˌtrōp \
plural -s

Definition of thaumatrope

: an optical instrument or toy that shows the persistence of an impression upon the eye and that consists of a card having on its opposite faces different designs that appear to the eye combined in a single picture when the card is whirled rapidly round a diameter by the strings that hold it

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Other Words from thaumatrope

thaumatropical \ ¦⸗⸗¦träpə̇kəl \ adjective

History and Etymology for thaumatrope

Greek thauma miracle, wonder + English -trope

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thaumatrope

Statistics for thaumatrope

Cite this Entry

“Thaumatrope.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Comments on thaumatrope

What made you want to look up thaumatrope? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!